Multiple SclerosisMS Causes

Let's Talk About Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Causes

Spoiler alert: Nobody really knows the exact cause of multiple sclerosis, and honestly, there are likely many.

    Our Pro PanelMS Causes

    We've got the doctor-approved scoop on causes, symptoms, treatments, and a jillion other facts and tips that can make life with MS easier.

    Meghan Beier, Ph.D.

    Meghan Beier, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Clinical Neuropsychologist

    Johns Hopkins Medicine Multiple Sclerosis Center
    Bruce Cohen, M.D.

    Bruce Cohen, M.D.Chief of MS/Neuroimmunology, Department of Neurology

    Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
    Neeta Garg, M.D.

    Neeta Garg, M.D.Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology

    University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

    Frequently Asked QuestionsMS Causes

    Is there a single cause of MS?

    There’s no one single cause of MS. Researchers have identified genes, environmental triggers, infections, and more that may play a role in causing MS.

    Is MS a genetic disease?

    MS isn’t hereditary, but genetics may still play an important role in MS. MS is not passed down from generation to generation, per se, but certain genetic risk factors probably are.

    Is MS contagious?

    No, multiple sclerosis can’t be passed from person to person. MS is not an infection, but viral infections may play a role in triggering MS. A pair of herpes viruses—HHV-6 and Epstein Barr virus—are two likely suspects.

    What causes inflammation in MS?

    MS is an autoimmune disease. The immune systems of people with MS mistakenly attack protective myelin that surrounds cells in the central nervous system. This immune response causes inflammation and damage, which leaves behind lesions that can be seen on an MRI.

    Patrick Sullivan

    Patrick Sullivan


    Patrick Sullivan is a freelance content writer and copywriter for healthcare providers, publications and brands.